Canada

Avoid social gatherings to 'put the brakes on transmission': health minister

If Quebecers "continue with the level of social contact we have, we will hit the wall" with COVID-19, Christian Dubé said Thursday.

Health Minister Christian Dubé announces a new expansion of the Verdun Hospital at a press conference on Friday September 18, 2020.

Another area turned from green to yellow: the Gaspé municipality, which reported 15 new cases on Thursday.

Other regions did not change colours. Montreal reported 247 new cases on Thursday. The Quebec City region reported 103.

Dubé spoke in the wake of a trio of scathing reports, two of which analyzed what went wrong at two Montreal-area long-term care homes that were decimated by the pandemic and another from Quebec’s ombudsman criticizing the government’s management of long-term care homes.

Dubé said the government had seen an influx of volunteers who wanted to help with testing and contact tracing. More than 4,000 answered the call in the last few days, but Dubé said the government is still taking more applicants.

QUEBEC — The health minister issued a stern warning on Thursday against social gatherings of all kinds, warning that community transmission of the coronavirus is fuelling the second wave.

Quebecers should limit their outings to only what is completely necessary, such as going to work or school, Christian Dubé said. Avoid all social contacts, he added, to help avoid a second lockdown.

“I think we really have to put the brakes on this (community) transmission,” Dubé said. “We put in place every clear rules for what we have to follow in terms of sanitary guidelines … but we have to be careful. We have to limit ourselves to what is necessary.”

Quebecers should avoid weddings, funerals, family dinners and barbecues. “The contamination we have comes from gatherings among friends and family,” Dubé said. “If we continue with the level of social contact we have, we will hit the wall.”

Quebec counted 582 new cases on Thursday, the second time this week that the toll has neared 600 reported cases in one day.

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